New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, industrialist Anil Ambani and prominent candidates like Milind Deora, Ram Naik and Akhilesh Das were some of the early voters in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections Thursday.
Mayawati, accompanied by her party candidate Akhilesh Das, cast her vote in Lucknow before setting off to campaign for BSP in Mathura, Bulandshahr and other consituencies.
Asking her party supporters to come out and vote, Mayawati said, “I always appeal to all my supporters to first cast their vote and then start their day’s work. I not only preach what I say but also practice it. So I came to vote even before having tea or breakfast.”
Anil Ambani jogged his way to the polling booth in South Mumbai and cast his vote in the first hour of polling while actor Sonam Kapoor, of Delhi 6 fame, was excited at having voted for the first time.
Milind Deora, the Congress candidate from South Mumbai, appealed to the young voters to cast their vote. His high-profile constituency usually witnesses a low voter turnout.
He said after the Mumbai terror attack — which took place in Taj and Trident hotels located in his constituency— security was a big issue.
Ram Naik, the BJP candidate from Mumbai North who was defeated by actor Govinda in 2004, said he was confident of winning the polls this time.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who cast his vote in Gandhinagar, was confident of a landslide BJP win and said that LK Advani was sure to form the government at the Centre.
He appealed to women and the young to come out and vote in large numbers.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa whose son BY Raghavendra is the BJP candidate from Shimoga, shrugged off the Election Commission accusation of money power being used in the polls.
“I don’t agree with the EC that we have spent money. May be the Congress and the JD(S) have done so,” he said. Denying that BJP was also encouraging dynastic politics, he said, his son’s victory would be the victory of the party workers at all levels against S Bangarappa in Shimoga.
BSP candidate from Lucknow Akhilesh Das said the legacy of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would not benefit BJP candidate Lalji Tandon.
“Lucknow is Vajpayee’s legacy and not Lalji Tandon’s. I am quite confident of winning,” he said.
Meanwhile, Darjeeling witnessed a good voter turnout. Former external affairs minister and BJP candidate Jaswant Singh is banking on support of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to win this constituency.
Danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, who is contesting as an independent against BJP leader LK Advani, also exercised her franchise from Gandhinagar along with her mother and children.
BJP president Rajnath Singh cast his vote at a polling station in Lucknow.
“In this elections BJP-led NDA will get a clear cut majority and will form the next government at the Centre,” Singh told reporters.
Asked whether he will join the government if NDA came to power, he said: “I will continue to work for the organization,” he said.